Return to Transcripts main page
PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Steve Jobs Resigns as CEO of Apple; Storm Expected Off N. Carolina Saturday; No Word of Gadhafi's Whereabouts; Libyan Rebels Control Almost Entire City of Tripoli; Fema Administrator Fugate Says Residents on East Coast Need to Prepare for Hurricane Irene
Aired August 24, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, HOST: Tonight, breaking news: Steve Jobs resigns as CEO of Apple. What this means to the company that changed the world. The latest stunning developments.
And gathering storms in the Atlantic. Hurricane Irene is growing bigger and stronger, bearing down on the East Coast. Where will it hit? What will winds over 100 miles an hour do to a city like New York?
And on the other side of the world, battles still raging in Tripoli. A defiant Moammar Gadhafi urging his forces to go house to house. Is this the colonel's last stand? I'll ask CNN's Sara Sidner what's it like to be in the middle of the chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is more guns. More guns. These guys have found.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
MORGAN: Good evening.
Tonight's breaking news: Steve Jobs stepping down as CEO of Apple.
I want to bring the man who's written extensively about Apple for "The New York Times" and knows Steve Jobs personally, Joe Nocera.
Joe, is this a surprise? Obviously, lots of speculation about Steve Jobs' future because of his health? What's your view?
JOE NOCERA, NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED COLUMNIST: Well, the only real surprise is that it happened tonight, really. He's been sick for a long time. He has not looked well, obviously, in appearances recently. Everybody' he's had a liver transplant, who's had a tumor on his pancreas, who's had various other ailments.
So, you know, his health, one assumes has been deteriorating, and there is a certain kind of sad inevitability to this moment. MORGAN: Obviously, Apple's become this extraordinary global business. One of the biggest market caps of any American companies in history.
What impact will Steve Jobs standing down as the chief executive officer have on the company, do you think, if any?
NOCERA: Well, Steve Jobs is one of the great innovators in the history of modern capitalism. He's also one of the genius marketers. With ways of getting people to get interested in and buying products that nobody -- we haven't seen in a long time. Apple is going to miss that, without question.
And the real question going forward is, they've probably got a pipeline of a couple of years, maybe three years worth of product ideas, product innovations, what will they have after that. Will Tim Cook, the new CEO, who really is an operational guy, will he be able to come up with a product that's as out-of-the box as the iPhone was when it first came, or the iPad when it first came out.
And we don't know the answer to that. I think most people would be a little bit dubious. But, you know, Apple has a strong bent, and I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt at this particular moment.
MORGAN: Steve Jobs made a request in his resignation letter to become chairman of the company, and that has now happened. What do you see his role as being now? What's the difference for a company like Apple between the CEO and the chairman, if you're someone as hands-on as Steve Jobs?
NOCERA: Well, that is the whole key of Steve Jobs. He is, on the one hand, the micromanager from hell, but on the other hand, his micromanaging has been so brilliant for so long, he's involved in every detail of the look and feel of the products.
Clearly, he's saying in this letter, I can't do that anymore. I'm not strong enough. I just don't have the -- I can't make that kind of effort anymore, because of my health.
I think Apple will miss that. I believe that his sort of almost dictatorial qualities are one of the things that made Apple such a great company. And although I'm sure he has people who are just as obsessive as he is working there, part of his genius is that his intuition has been so phenomenal over the years. You know, do it this way, not this way. And he's almost always been right -- at least since he came back to the company a decade or more ago.
Whether his successors have that same instinct is highly unlikely, just because it's part of what makes Steve Jobs really a business genius.
MORGAN: And, obviously, in many ways, he's become the most valuable CEO in the history of business. It couldn't really come at a worse time for the American economy, in the sense that here's the standard bearer of what America really should be doing, producing great product to sell to the rest of the world, and domestically, and now at the peak of America's financial problems, the top guy has to step down. What kind of impact do you think it will have on the markets, on the global economy? You know, what kind of importance will they put to this?
NOCERA: Less than you'd think, Piers. Look, tomorrow is going to be a rough day in the market for Apple stock, without question. But Apple is going to be fine, at least in the short term. And it's going to continue to make these products, it's going to continue to grow and expand.
It's not like he's disappearing and it's not like the company is going to stop doing well in the short term. You know, hopefully -- hopefully --in the long term, the U.S. economy will recover and Apple will continue to innovate.
You know, you just -- you can't really think beyond that, because there's so many unknowns, both about the American economy and about the capabilities, the innovative capabilities of the people who work for Steve Jobs.
MORGAN: Joe, you know him personally. You've spoken to him privately about his health. What's he always said to you about the condition he's been in?
NOCERA: Well, first of all, Steve Jobs and I do not have what one would call a friendly relationship. He's mostly been mad at me for the stuff I've written about his health. So let's just be clear about that.
Secondly, you know, he's a very -- despite being one of the most public figures in the country, he is a man who values his privacy a great deal. And he has told as few people as possible, as little as possible, about his health.
One of the reasons it was an issue between him and I is because I was writing columns basically saying Apple had a requirement that it should under the law disclose more about his health to the shareholders. He disagreed with that. One of the reasons he called to yell at me in private is because he wanted to tell me he thought I was full of baloney.
He has basically confirmed to people who know him well, the sort of outlines, the liver transplant and the ongoing battle with the cancer, with the side effects of the operation to treat his pancreatic condition. And I think they have continued to take a toll on him. He has good days, he has bad days.
You know, he has -- you know, when you or I catch a cold, it's not a big deal. When Steve Jobs catches a cold, it's a huge deal.
And I think it's just been a gradual deterioration of his health all along. So, finally, he's gotten to the point where I just don't think he feels like he's up to the effort that's required to run Apple the way he's always run it.
MORGAN: I mean, for someone like Steve Jobs who is so personally linked to this company, who helped build it from nothing, to give up the reins as he's doing, would you imagine that his health has deteriorated pretty significantly?
NOCERA: I hate to speculate like that. I certainly -- Apple is his life. Even in the years when he was kind of in exile, he thought obsessively about Apple in the -- during that period when he was not at the company. He cares about it almost as much as he cares about his wife and children.
So this has to be a hard day for him. And I think the appropriate way to think about this is to wish him luck and wish him well, and hope that as board chairman, he can still have -- he will still have some time to have influence over the company.
MORGAN: I completely second all that, as a big Apple consumer myself.
NOCERA: Aren't we all?
MORGAN: He's a genius and he's done an incredible job for his company, also for the American economy. And I think we wish him the very best.
Joe, thank you very much.
NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Piers. I appreciate it.
MORGAN: Now, I want to bring in Leigh Gallagher, assistant managing editor of "Fortune" magazine. She's covered Tim Cook, who's replacing Steve Jobs.
Leigh, what's your reaction to this? And tell me more about the success of Tim Cook.
LEIGH GALLAGHER, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Well, first of all, this is stunning news today. I think it took everyone by surprise.
But Tim Cook has been the behind-the-scenes guy at Apple for years now, and in the past few years, he's really been elevated. And he's taken on a much more serious role.
But he is a very, very -- you know, he has had Steve Jobs' ear. He's really been running the show behind the scenes for quite some time now. He is -- it's funny, Tim Cook is a real sort of an operations guy. He was a lifer at companies like Compaq and IBM before he came to Apple. And he really came to Apple to kind of manage inventory, make the trains run on time, and then he just really proved himself, and, obviously, took on much, much more responsibility.
But there's nobody who knows this company better than Steve Jobs than Tim Cook. That's absolutely for sure.
MORGAN: Having said that, of course, you know, it's massive shoes to fill, now that he's got the CEO job. And part of Steve Jobs' brilliance was his personal marketer for the whole company and as an innovator. From what you're saying, it's not really the kind of thing that his successor is really that skilled at. Will he have to learn that kind of ability, do you think, to go to these conferences once a year and excite the world the way Steve Jobs does?
GALLAGHER: Well, I don't think you can learn how to be Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs is singular. There will never be anybody like him. He is the closest thing the business world has to a super hero. And I don't think anybody would deny that.
In terms of the marketing flair, I mean, I don't think Tim Cook needs to have that, to steer the company in the right direction. I think with Apple, it's about the products. And that's where the question of, you know, innovation. Can he replace Steve Jobs in terms of innovation?
The management structure at Apple is actually pretty simple. There's a lot of people that report directly to Steve Jobs. There isn't a whole lot of dotted lines and mishmash. It's pretty direct there. It's also famously brutal.
And so, the people that are there at the company are there for a reason. So I think that, you know, we can expect more great things from Apple.
But there's no question that Apple is Steve Jobs. And this company is about to change.
MORGAN: Pretty dramatically I would imagine. I mean, Tim Cook presumably will have a salary slightly higher than Steve Jobs' $1 a year, it's what he took for the last decade.
GALLAGHER: That's true. But, you know, Apple can afford it. Don't forget, this is a company that recently surpassed ExxonMobil as the most valuable company not too long ago.
So, I don't think the salary will be a question. I think the biggest question by far is the innovation question.
You know, don't forget that the story with Steve Jobs -- you know, Apple was almost on its last legs when Steve Jobs returned to take the helm. And people forget just how bad Apple was doing at that time.
And Steve Jobs came back, and not only brought the company back, but really has truly transformed five or six entire industries -- if you think about it. Computers, obviously, phones, movies, music. I mean, these industries have been literally head-to-toe transformed because of what Apple's done.
And then, if you think about, this is a company that has 50,000 employees, and still is growing at 60 percent a year. I mean, it's just amazing what he's done. It's a very, very, very hard act to follow.
But Tim Cook has long been understood by the market, by the company, as the guy to take over. I think as we've all known, you know, this was going to happen at some point, given the issues that have been, you know, given his health issues.
MORGAN: Would you say that Steve Jobs could lay claim to being the greatest businessman America's ever produced?
GALLAGHER: I think that's possible. I think he's been called that by Jack Welch and other famous CEOs who previously might have that title. I think that that would not be an overstatement.
MORGAN: Seeing after-hours trading, and Apple showing 5 percent down and falling pretty rapidly. Would you expect tomorrow, when there are bigger volumes at stake, that this will continue as a pattern? There will be kickback because of Steve Jobs' standing down.
GALLAGHER: I think there will be. I mean, don't forget what happened when it was -- earlier this winter he came and said he was taking medical leave, the stock took an instant hit. And also, let's not forget how volatile the stock has been lately. The market in general has been lately. I think we can expect a reaction.
But that said -- an immediate reaction. But again, I think that the market is prepared -- the market has gotten to know Tim Cook, has gotten comfortable with Tim Cook. I mean, by that, I mean, investors.
This is not entirely a huge surprise. I mean, I think the timing of it is a surprise. But there's never been a question as to who is going to succeed Steve Jobs when he ultimately stands aside, which we've known is going to -- is a very likely scenario, just because of his health concerns.
MORGAN: Yes. And also, Tim Cook has been there since the turn of the century. And stock has risen 70 percent since he's been there.
MORGAN: So, I would imagine in eternally, they'll be packing a lot less than other people might.
MORGAN: Leigh Gallagher, thank you very much.
GALLAGHER: Thank you.
MORGAN: Now to CNN's Jim Spellman who is in the Bahamas that's battered by hurricane Irene and Chad Myer watching the storms in CNN's hurricane center.
Let's start with you, Jim. Looking pretty rough there now. What is the latest?
JIM SPELLMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Piers, the wind has really been picking up over the last couple of hours. Now, it's been met by rain. It's just been coming in in sort of bands here of the Caribbean.
Everybody is doing the best to be prepared. They know this storm is going to be big, powerful. It's the real thing, Piers, and they're really getting prepared as best they can.
MORGAN: And, Chad, obviously the bigger concern outside of the Bahamas is where this goes next. What intelligence do we have right now on the direction of Irene?
CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Waiting for that right-hand turn that we always forecast. And if it doesn't turn to the right in time, could even make a little bit of run at Florida, or even for that matter, I would say the Carolinas.
The problem is going to be when it goes past North Carolina and makes a run at the Northeast. This could literally make a run into Long Island, maybe even toward Boston. Can you imagine 85-mile-per-hour storm in Boston? Or on Long Island? Or a little bit of a turn to the left and this goes all the way into New York City.
Eighty-five miles per hour in the city of New York, that would be an ugly, ugly weekend -- Piers.
MORGAN: And, Chad, obviously I'm not a native of these parts. So, how unusual is it that the East Coast would be threatened with a hurricane of this magnitude?
MYERS: We get one about every three years. We've been in a drought, honestly. People are probably not ready for this because it's been such a hurricane drought over the past five years. And the biggest hurricanes we've had have all been in the Gulf of Mexico. You know, Katrina and Rita and Ike.
But this, this could be a category 2 hurricane, 100 miles per hour right over, I'd say, Providence, Rhode Island. That's the potential. That's the middle. The last time that happened, Piers, was 1991 with Bob.
I go back to you, Jim. When you're in the eye of these things, as you are right now, what is the best advice do you think for people who live in a place that's been hit by a hurricane? What should they really be doing?
SPELLMAN: Well, you know, as Chad mentioned, when there's a hurricane drought, I think people become complacent and ignore what people say. The main thing you can do is get the heck away from it. That's what the tourists here in the Bahamas have done.
The cruise ships pulled out overnight last night. the airport closed a few hours ago. Tourists were on every flight they could to get out of here. So, that's the best thing you can do now.
Now, here in the Bahamas, this island, the New Providence, is only about 20 miles long. There's nowhere to go to outrun the storm. So, the people here, they're battening down the hatches, they have storm shutters, plywood, they get food and water in, and ride it out. That's about all they can do here.
But I would highly recommend anybody to listen to what the authorities say, don't try to ride it out if you have any kind of option.
MORGAN: Well, thanks, Jim.
Obviously, the Bahamas is a beautiful place and lovely people there. Our thoughts are with them, and hope it goes OK for them.
Thanks to you and Chad.
MYERS: You're welcome.
MORGAN: When we come back, I want to right to Libya and the latest. CNN's Dan Rivers is in Tripoli.
MORGAN: The $2.5 million bounty on the head of Moammar Gadhafi tonight, the clock ticking to the end of his regime, battles are raging strong in Tripoli and other cities.
Senior international correspondent Dan Rivers is there in Tripoli and joins me now.
Dan, what is the latest? Tell me about this bounty.
DAN RIVERS, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This has been confirmed to me that they are offering 1.7 million dinars, that number symbolic. This revolution started on the 17th of February, and they are offering this money to try and encourage someone to give up Colonel Gadhafi. They're also offering an amnesty for anyone that will turn him in, who are currently loyal to him.
We've come in from the mountains today, into Tripoli, where these rebels surged a few days ago from Zentan. We drove in through the west of the coastal area here, through Zawiya into Tripoli.
We were ushered into a briefing with the rebels where they acknowledged that large parts of the southern side of Tripoli remain very dangerous and very volatile. Anything south of the ring roads here is extremely dangerous. They say there are pockets of resistance and snipers loyal to Gadhafi there which are really causing them problems.
So, there's a slight change in the picture that we've been led to believe that they control 80 percent or 90 percent of the city. I think that's a little overly optimistic at the moment.
But, certainly, where we are now, just near the port here now, you can hear a lot of celebratory gunfire. This area seems to be fairly secure as the rebels, you know, are now driving around, loosing off magazines to celebrate what they think is an inevitable victory.
MORGAN: Obviously, there's a huge bounty, never mind financial, just on being a rebel that could get Gadhafi personally. Is there a huge kind of manhunt going on? How would you describe the atmosphere to find him? RIVERS: Oh, yes, absolutely. Febrile I guess is the best word. When we were in this briefing, a bunch of these rebels all ran out and jumped into their trucks claiming they were going off on a secret mission to capture a senior person who may or may not have been Gadhafi, they thought. Turns out it wasn't.
But it's fairly -- it feels fairly chaotic the way they are behaving, the rebels, from what I've seen. There's a lot of kind of running around in these pickup trucks, some of which have antiaircraft guns mounted on them, you know, break-neck speed. We've seen a lot of these cars sort of doing doughnuts down in Green Square, or Martyr Square as they're calling it now behind me, you know, in celebration.
They don't give the impression of being particularly disciplined. And, you know, obviously, the big question is, where is Gadhafi? Is he still in Tripoli? Rumors that he might be south near the airport where one of my colleagues, Arwa Damon, is still holed up amid that intense fighting.
But, frankly, no one really knows at the moment.
MORGAN: Now, that is the big question. Dan Rivers, thank you very much indeed.
As the battle rages in Tripoli, opposition forces are making plans for post-Gadhafi Libya. My next guest may have a lot to say about that. He's a member of the Libyan royal family who has been in close touch with the rebels.
Prince Idris al-Senussi joins me exclusively now.
Prince al-Senussi, thank you very much for joining me. I spoke to your brother yesterday. Obviously, a very jubilant time for you, for your family, and indeed for Libya.
What is your reaction to what you're seeing?
PRINCE IDRIS AL-SENUSSI, MEMBER OF THE LIBYAN ROYAL FAMILY: Hello, Piers. Nice for you having me again on your show.
I'm proud of the people of Libya who have been fighting to bring back democracy and establish freedom in Libya. Of course, this is great times for the people of Libya, especially for our family, and the legacy that we have seen in Libya.
I would love very much to thank the Libyan people. And I want to take this advantage to tell them with the finishing of Ramadan, now is the time for us to reconciliate and put all our rivalries aside and be all tribes unite under one flag, under one constitution, and build the institutions again, the civil society.
MORGAN: And royal highness, you and your family were kicked out of Libya in the late '60s, and you've had to watch Colonel Gadhafi run his reign of terror ever since. Now that he's gone, can you see a situation where you would return, perhaps be part of the government going forward? AL-SENUSSI: Look, Piers, we have not been outside the country, we've been working from day one in opposition against Colonel Gadhafi. I've been in a opposition on my life. My cousin is part of the government in Libya. It's been 31 years part of the transitional government.
Of course, we would like to work with any government that comes, that puts the government back together, on the world map as a civil country, civilized country. So our role is not important, what role we play. It's important that we continue our work, what we are doing now.
We're working with the named -- the people who are injured, we're working with the humanitarian. We would like to soon help the companies who would like to go back and do the construction, who would like to see the people be -- the Libyan people who are very well- educated, professors, and all of us go back, and what our role can be is not important. Whatever role is available.
MORGAN: And finally, Prince al-Senussi, most of us were watching the extraordinary scenes at Gadhafi's compound yesterday because when a man loses his home, his compound like that, we all kind of know it's all over. For you, it must have been such a symbolic thing to watch.
What was your personal human reaction to those scenes?
AL-SENUSSI: Well, my reaction is, the tyrant, he's gone. Libya is coming back as a country. I have been watching, waiting for this -- for this event to happen for 41 years, although I was young. But I still remember that I always dreamt of going back, and seeing Gadhafi out of Libya. And I always hoped that I will see Libya without a Gadhafi. And that's what I saw.
When I saw the compound, that's it. I said, the symbol -- he symbol of power, the symbol of Gadhafi is gone and it became history. That's what I've seen.
MORGAN: Wonderful moment for you, and for Libyan people. Prince al- Senussi, thank you very much for joining me.
When we come back, CNN's Sara Sidner, and what it's like to report in the middle of Libya's chaos.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARA SIDNER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Underground -- some sort of -- (INAUDIBLE)
SIDNER: I can feel the ground --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Sara Sidner's extraordinary report for CNN on this show last night. She has been right in the thick of the battles in Tripoli, doing some remarkable reporting for us over the last few days. She joins me now.
Sara, great to see you again. Obviously on the show last night, pretty frantic scenes. You expressed a concern at one stage about what your family might be thinking, quite understandably. Have you had a chance to talk to your mother yet?
MORGAN: Yes, I did. Thanks for asking, Piers. I did give her a call, because we're having very difficult times trying to communicate, even with CNN. It's been very, very hard. Our phones drop constantly, even though they're satellite phones.
Every time NATO flies over, we lose all communication. But I did get ahold of mom, and first she said great job. Then she said, what the heck are you doing. Not exactly like that, but close.
You know how family is. They see you in these situations and they're wondering, why would you go there? What are you doing? Why are you in the middle of that? Can't you find somewhere safer to be?
But you know this, as a journalist yourself. You know that it's important for us to be able to see and hear and tell the story from this perspective, and be there in the middle of it, so we know what's going on. And it's not just something that you're getting in a Tweet or someone saying to you on the telephone. To be able to see it yourself is really important. And we try to report that as factually as possible, Piers.
MORGAN: What do you feel, Sara? When you're in that kind of environment -- you've been in many dangerous places, but it seems particularly out of control there. What goes through your mind?
SIDNER: I think -- and maybe we have a false sense of security -- but mostly what's going through your mind is trying to pay attention to what's going on around you, so you can actually report the story in a calm enough manner, so that the person on the other end doesn't feel like it's so out of control, and that you're out of control.
That's sometimes a bit hard to do when there's such loud bangs. I woke up this morning and had an ear ache on my right side, because right next to me, someone had pulled the trigger of Kalashnikov and it went off. Sometimes you just get yourself in these situations, and you think, you know, I probably should have stood back a little bit from it.
But you're trying to get this perspective. And I think, you know, sometimes you feel a little nervous. You feel a little hesitant. And then you think, you know what, I have to go for it. I have to know what's going on.
MORGAN: I'm just very relieved it's you there and not me, I can be perfectly honest. You say we're the same kind of journalist. Trust me, I couldn't do what you do. So I think, on behalf of everyone here, we massively appreciate the courage you've shown. Let's turn to what is happening in Libya, Sara. What is your take on exactly where we are now? Obviously it appears the rebels are pretty much completely in control now, is that right?
SIDNER: They're pretty much in control. This is one of those stories that keeps changing, but just a little bit. Let's give it that the rebels have their hold on this city. They're the ones that are on the streets with checkpoints. They're the ones that are, you know, in the square, and in the Bab al-Aziziya, the Gadhafi compound.
But there are still fire fights that have been going on near the airport. Clearly the Gadhafi forces are not completely gone. They're not completely stopped from trying to attack these opposition fighters. And so what you're seeing in the city is a sense that everybody is celebrating. And we're hearing now that celebratory gunfire. We know that's celebratory because it's coming from what is now being called as Martyr Square.
So what you generally get the sense is that they do mostly have control of the city. But that there are still pockets in the city that just aren't safe to travel into.
I want to mention one more thing. We got some very disturbing news. Four journalists had been kidnapped on the way to Zawaya, where we've been staying. You've been seeing us go back and forth from Tripoli to Zawaya. We did that four our own safety, because we weren't sure exactly where was safe, especially with our colleagues in the Rixos Hotel. They were basically held captive there.
And thank God they've all gotten out. But the situation can change so rapidly. And that's what is a bit disturbing. We even went down to the Gadhafi compound today. We were told everything is safe; mia mia (ph), all is well. We got there and there was gunfire that was coming at us. We saw mortar rounds falling near us.
And so, you know, it's hard to gauge exactly how much of the city they have control of. But it does seem that, for the most part, the rebels have it.
MORGAN: Obviously huge optimism from the rebels. Do you, as a dispassionate journalist, share the optimism about what will happen next?
SIDNER: Look, you cannot help but be stirred when you're in a situation where there is so much excitement. There's glee. There is just an outpouring of happiness, a sense that people feel like they can let their shoulders down, and that they can say what they want to say, that they can express themselves, whether or not they liked the Gadhafi regime, or whether or not they did not like the Gadhafi regime, that they're able to freely speak.
So you do get some of that energy, you might say, from the people who you are covering. But what's going forward is a very difficult process, I think, that's going to have to happen. The National Transitional Council has sort of put itself in a position of a political opposition. What disturbs me just a bit is a scene that I saw coming out of Bab al-Aziziya, where they had a young man with his arms bound behind him. They were marching him out of that compound. We all thought, oh, my gosh, this is someone who they've captured from the Gadhafi regime. I saw a couple of people leveling guns straight at him. And I thought for just a second, my God, this man is going to get shot before my eyes and he's unarmed.
And eventually he talked them down. It turned out he was just a civilian who had gone in like a bunch of other people to see what it was like in there, because he was absolutely curious. He had never been able to go into this massive compound. So these are the things that I think need to be watched.
It also -- I'm very concerned also about those people who did support the Gadhafi regime, those people who were supportive and thought that they enjoyed whatever his rule did. There are people like that. There are people who did support the regime in this city and in other cities.
And how it is that they will be let into this discussion on how this country can move forward. I think the National Transitional Council has that in mind. They have talked about Libya being one nation, that they need to listen to many voices. You hope going forward that those people aren't targets of violence or even possibly, you know, death.
People are very angry with the regime. And you see that in their faces when they suspect someone is a supporter of Gadhafi.
MORGAN: Sara Sidner, you've been risking your life to record history, and I salute you. Thank you very much very much.
SIDNER: Thank you, Piers.
MORGAN: When we come back, the man who is advising the president on Hurricane Irene. How he says you should prepare.
MORGAN: My next guest has been in constant touch with President Obama, updating him on the growing threat from Hurricane Irene. It's FEMA's Craig Fugate and he says the time to prepare for this monster storm is right now.
Mr. Fugate, thank you for joining me. You're obviously pretty concerned by what may about to happen.
CRAIG FUGATE, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: Obviously. You know, we've got a pretty good size hurricane out there, a category three. Again, this is a threat from the Carolinas all the way up through the New England states, an area that hasn't seen a lot of hurricanes. We're trying to get people to pay attention and get ready now.
MORGAN: Where exactly is Irene right now? And where are you fearing it may be heading? FUGATE: Right now, still in the Bahamas, some strengthening is the Hurricane Center forecast. But it looks like it will begin impacting the Outer Banks of North Carolina probably as early as Friday. So again, it's really important that people heed any protective actions, evacuation orders.
This is a storm that's going to stay close to, or along the east coast, all the way up through New England from the last forecast from the Hurricane Center. So it's going to be a weekend that people need to be ready to act if required.
MORGAN: And the storm is getting stronger, is that right?
FUGATE: Yeah, it was a category one last night. It became a category one, now category one, possibly even a category four wind speeds. The other thing is, it's growing in size.
A lot of people focus on those wind speeds, but they also need to remember this is becoming a much larger storm. And the area it's going to impact is going to be much greater than what they may be believing, just looking at that center point.
MORGAN: So if you're in the area that may be affected here, what is the best advice right now for people who may get hit by this hurricane?
FUGATE: Find out, if you live along the coast, are you in an evacuation zone. And if you are, plan to evacuate if local officials call for that. Otherwise, make sure you've got a plan; you've checked your supplies and monitor the storm. And if you haven't taken those basic steps, visit Ready.gov or go to M.FEMA.gov on your mobile phone and get your plan now and get your supplies while it is still early.
You don't want to wait until the last minute.
MORGAN: There seems to have been an extraordinary number of natural hazards, disasters, snowstorms, hurricanes and so on this year. Is it out of kilter with normal years? I mean, what is your expert view of what's going on with the weather?
FUGATE: I don't know. I'm from Florida. I got hit with four hurricanes in 2004. So I'm still waiting for what a normal year looks like.
MORGAN: Obviously it's pretty expensive, though. I read that there have been nine billion dollar disasters this year alone related to weather. Can America afford to have many more of this kind of thing this year
FUGATE: Well, again, our commitment to our citizens is this is a shared responsibility. They do their part to get prepared, and help their neighbors, and the federal government. And we're going to do our part on behalf of the president to support them and their communities when disaster strikes.
MORGAN: Craig, as always, thank you very much. FUGATE: Thank you.
MORGAN: Coming up, a man who says the Democrats are standing in the way of job creation in this country.
MORGAN: Judd Gregg is the former governor of New Hampshire, a former senator and the man who turned down a job as President Obama's secretary of Commerce. A man who says thanks, but no thanks to the president of the United States is clearly not a man who is afraid to speak his mind. And Judd Gregg joins me now.
Senator Gregg, let me ask you, first of all, for your reaction to what's happening in Libya?
JUDD GREGG, FMR. SENATOR: Obviously it's positive to have Libya finally have the potential of a free government. And the people of Libya deserve that. And hopefully they can proceed with an orderly -- on an orderly path to democracy. It's just a positive thing to have occur for the world.
MORGAN: Obviously there are several schools of thought here about a post-Gadhafi Libya. One is that these kinds of dictators keep a lid on what's trouble in their countries, as well as causing it, of course. And there is a danger that without them controlling the worst elements of society in this countries, things could suddenly explode. Are you concerned about that?
GREGG: I think we have to be in any Arab country. Obviously the most cohesive groups in some of these nations are the most radical groups. You see that with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. You have to be concerned that they take control, and that they establish, instead of a dictatorship, some sort of theocracy like we've gotten in Iran.
MORGAN: Obviously America's played a fairly low key role so far. But in the, not necessarily rebuilding -- we're not in Afghanistan here. But certainly in terms of positioning Libya going forward to a way that suits America's interests, should America now be getting more involved than it has been?
GREGG: Absolutely, there's no question about that. I think the primary role has to be the European countries and the responsible Arab nations. But we need to be very supportive. There's going to be a period here where the transition is going to be very difficult for the Libyan people. They're going to need resources, number one, quickly.
They will have resources over the long run of an exceptional nature in their oil reserves. But in the short term, they're going to need resources just to avoid the chaos that comes from a lack of an orderly society and the infrastructure to deliver, for example, food and water.
So to the extent we can be helpful in those areas, we absolutely should be.
We also have to be very sensitive to where these weapons are going that have been stockpiled. If you want to talk about a threat here, having thousands of surface-to-air missiles in the hands of people who could do us harm and do international commerce significant harm is something we really need to worry about.
Hopefully there's a lot of clandestine activity occurring, with the French and the British resources there, to try to make sure we account for those weapons.
MORGAN: Let's turn to America and its economy in particular. Obviously, you're a bit of an expert in this area. It's been a hell of a mess, hasn't it, this summer? What's your take on it all?
GREGG: Well, we're facing up to a period of chaos that is brought on by ourselves. We're the ones who spent a lot more than we can afford to spend. We have a massive demographic shift occurring in this country. We're going to double the number of retirees in this country over the next five to seven years.
We have an entitlement society. And those retirees have rights to certain benefits. And we don't have the capacity to pay for them. And so as a government, the federal government's got to come to terms with the fact that it's running up debts which it cannot afford to pay.
If we don't do something about it, we're going to pass on to our kids a country that's bankrupt and where their standard of living will be significantly less.
MORGAN: Wouldn't it be in America's interest to have somebody like you rather than turning down the job of the Commerce secretary, to have accepted it, and to have this fight with the president on the inside of the tent?
GREGG: That's very kind of you to say. At the time, I was attracted. And I was optimistic. And many Americans were. But it became fairly obvious to me fairly quickly that the number one job of a member of the cabinet is to be 100 percent with the president 100 percent of the time. And I wasn't going to be able to do that. It wouldn't have been fair to him.
It was my fault. I take responsibility for it. But I would not have been a good cabinet member because I do disagree fundamentally with the direction that the president has taken this country on fiscal policy over the last two years.
MORGAN: Let's turn to the Republican party, and what's going on with the potential leadership there. Obviously the clock is ticking now. And someone's going to have to take on the president next year. Rick Perry, in the latest poll, is pretty significantly ahead now of Mitt Romney and Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann.
But obviously, early days with these polls. What is your assessment of where the party is now, and moving closer to choosing a nominee? GREGG: I think Governor Perry is a very strong and viable candidate. But I do think he hasn't been exposed to the glare of the klieg lights yet. And whether he's going to play on a national scene effectively is very much in issue. He's the new product. As the new product, everybody is attracted to him.
But really, this is a very fluid situation. I genuinely believe we as a party will nominate a responsible and strong candidate, and that President Obama is going to have a tough reelection for president, because most Americans think America is on the wrong track. And it's hard to get reelected as president if you're on the wrong track.
MORGAN: Senator, you endorsed Mitt Romney last time. Will you be doing that again?
GREGG: I haven't decided. I'm listening like most people in New Hampshire. The nice thing about being from New Hampshire is you get to listen and you get to see people up close and personal. I like Mitt Romney. I think he's a very capable and talented guy. But I have not made any formal endorsement.
MORGAN: Senator Gregg, thank you very much for your time.
GREGG: Thank you for having me on.
MORGAN: We'll be right back.
MORGAN: Now let's get the latest from the CNN Hurricane Center.
CHAD MYERS, METEOROLOGIST: Piers, it is still a very strong storm, although it's going through what's called an eye wall replacement cycle. You can look it up on Google if you want.
What it means is that we had a small eye wall for awhile today, and then the winds were very strong, 120, maybe even 125 miles per hour. Then another eye wall tried to develop on the outside of it, making almost concentric circles.
When that happens, the middle eye wall completely falls apart. We lose some steam. So we lose some miles per hour. Then you get a stronger hurricane after all that happens.
And that's happening right now. That replacement cycle is happening right now. Wind are 120. We'll get another update probably in about 45 minutes or so. Probably still going to be a category three, though, for tonight. Not going to move very much.
But by tomorrow certainly going to move up toward Nassau. By morning, Nassau could be experiencing winds to 120, 125 miles per hour. Then tomorrow afternoon, a category four hurricane at 135 miles per hour, very close to Freeport.
Even -- obviously we're not going to get a landfall in Florida. But with all of this wind way out here and waves being generated 20 or 30 feet tall, there certainly could be some beach erosion for the Florida coast.
Then we move you on up right close to Hateras there. There could be a landfall right here in North Carolina. Half of the cone is offshore, half onshore. The biggest problem I see is if it keeps going, will it potentially make landfall somewhere from New York City to Boston.
Best case scenario out to sea. We'll have to look at that the next couple of days. Piers.
MORGAN: That's all for us tonight. Another quiet day in August. "AC 360" starts right now.